Bontoc, Mountain Province – Members of the Provincial Peace and Order Council and the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council put their full weight for the speedy resolution of the killing of three natives of Agawa, Besao who reportedly went to hunt and fish but were found dead days later along the Lakanga creek within the vicinity of Baclingayan, a sitio of Tabacda, Tubo, Abra.
In the joint PPOC-PDRRMC meeting last Thursday, Besao Mayor Johnson Bantog II reported that the Tubo Police Office has already filed a case against a lone suspect at a trial court in Abra. “A case is already filed in court so I hope that justice will be immediately given to the families of the victims,” Bantog said.
The mayor called on the PPOC through its chairman, Governor Bonifacio C. Lacwasan, Jr., to monitor the proceedings of the case. For his part, Lacwasan assured the families of his support in their fight for justice. “We are always ready to offer help within our means. I just hope and pray that the suspect will eventually surface so that the case will go on smoothly,” the governor assured the mayor.
Meanwhile, a member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan here said that the proper venue to decide the case is the court. Provincial IP representative Tomas Tawagen said that the best is to let the case filed by the police take its course. Tawagen was reacting to the pronouncement of Abra Vice Governor Ronald Balao-as who, in a published news article, made the suggestion of having the case be settled by the Sangguninag Panlalawigan.
Bantog also took the opportunity to thank all the groups and individuals who made position papers and sent statement of support to the bereaved families. Days after the discovery of the killings, series of position papers calling for the immediate resolution of the case flowed including those from left-leaning groups. “Obviously it was the copies of the resolutions and statements of oneness which partially pushed the police to look into the incident on a high priority mode,” Bantog added.
Tabacda is a barangay in Tubo populated by natives of Mountain Province. Baclingayan, the most populous sitio is occupied mostly by natives of Belwang, Sadanga. Another sitio, Taleb, is peopled by families from northern Sagada while sitio Datalan is populated mostly by those from Agawa. The three sitios were the hub for hunters but residents of Datalan and Taleb left their houses because of the series of military operations in the late 1980’s. The name of the barangay, Tabacda, is a condensation of sitios Taleb, Baclingayan, and Datalan.